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February 20-22, 200
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June 20-23, 200
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Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA


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Posted on  

June 19, 2002

Northern Lights Ethanol LLC Comes On-Line Early

MILBANK, SOUTH DAKOTA, Saturday, June 15, 2002—Corn is already in storage, and Northern Lights Ethanol, LLC is just days away from producing its first gallon of ethanol, six weeks ahead of schedule.

The grand opening of the 40-million-gallon ethanol facility was held with over 1,300 in attendance. The ribbon-cutting ceremony capped a tremendous weekend for ethanol production in the state and for its turnkey plant designer.

Earlier in the day and 90 miles west, the Groton, S.D.-based James Valley Ethanol, LLC launched its groundbreaking. Both plants are Broin Companies projects.

Del Strasser, president of the Northern Lights board, said the $50 million plant all began with simple coffee-shop talk between a group of farmers back in 1999.

“We wondered what we could do to help ourselves. This,” said Strasser, gesturing to the huge crowd in the new receiving warehouse, site of the day’s festivities, “is what we all did about it.”
Start-up capital from over 650 growers was raised in just three months, forming Northern Growers Cooperative in January of 2001. The seven-member Northern Lights board oversees operations. The board includes five co-op members and two directors from Broin, the minority owner.

For Blaine Gomer, new Northern Lights general manager, the plant is about much more than just ethanol production. “The impact on the rural economy will be significant,” said Gomer. “But with 39 new jobs and a $1.3 million payroll basis, there’s a lot more happening than just grinding 40,000 bushels of corn a day.”

About 15 million bushels of grain will be processed annually. Co-products include over 120,000 tons of dried distiller’s grain solubles (DDGS). The high protein feedstuff will be marketed as Dakota Gold, through Dakota Commodities, the only source-verified and certified DDG in the feed industry.

The Broin Companies CEO Jeff Broin said several innovative technologies set this facility apart from others, including its utilization of steam power from the neighboring Big Stone Power Plant.
 

 

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